August 24, 2005 News & Features » Cover Story


Margaret Renalds, 42 

Vice president and driver, Veterans Cab Association

He got in the car and he goes, "Oh, you must be the most beautiful cab driver in all of America." And I said: "Yes I am. They held the contest yesterday and I won. Thank you for noticing. And I'm sure it will be reflected in your tip."

He said, "I need to go to the James River Paper Corporation and to the Ethyl Corporation and make many stops. Will that be a problem?" And I said, [lowers her voice] click, click, click, "No that will be no problem." And he said, "And then I will need you to take me to the airport."

So we made all of these stops and he took me to lunch at Sam Miller's. And you know, I had grown up on South Side — as a matter of fact I had grown up in Park Lee apartments, which were nice apartments when we lived there. Well, not nice, but a helluva lot nicer than they were five years ago, and I had never been to Sam Miller's or anyplace else in Shockoe Slip. Or any upscale restaurant, really. I mean, you know, we'd go to Captain D's and stuff. And he was so completely charming and so wonderful and when we got to the airport, you know, it was like 73 bucks on the meter, which was an incredible amount of money 15 years ago as a cab driver, and is still a good fare today, a really good fare, and he tipped me 50 bucks.

And he says, "Oh, if you come to Paris, you must look me up." And he kissed my hand. And I said [clasping her chest], "Ohhh, I'll go today … with you … right now."

I didn't say any of that shit. I just thought it all. And that day, I went into my boss's office [where I worked security] with my resignation. I said: "I have got to go. It is nothing personal, but I got to go. I can't do this job anymore. I have to leave. And here's my two weeks' notice, and you owe me 35 sick days, so [coughs] I'm really sick." And I was gone, man, that was it.

I didn't realize that that would never happen to me again for the next 15 years. I have no idea what that man's name was. He was just that really good-looking rich guy from France [laughs]. And to this day, had I known how things would work out with my boyfriend, I would have done him. But ... I could only worship from afar. There have been many that have gotten away from me, and some of them really quickly. You've just heard my one clean cab story. — As told to Scott Bass

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